The Town of Vermilion held a regular council meeting on October 4, with major topics including crime statistics, library funding, an ATCO franchise agreement, and a new boom lift.
Sergeant Mike Dunsmore presented first-quarter RCMP statistics from April – June 2022. He said they are meeting their target goals for proactive enforcement regarding traffic and police and community relations.
“It’s not about just writing tickets, but having positive interactions with the public,” said Dunsmore.
He also recently held a town hall meeting in Innisfree, and plans to have one in the coming year near Clandonald and Vermilion, and will continue their school engagements.
“There are some increased numbers but that’s a positive thing, showing the offenders are being caught. Theft of motor vehicles saw a 167 per cent increase; usually coming in pairs or groups of three for the theft of vehicles (dropping one and picking up another). We got a call this morning where they dumped one in Elk Point and Bonnyville and ended up with four in custody,” said Dunsmore.
There was also a 150 per cent increase in drug enforcement for trafficking which he said also shows an increase in offenders being caught. There wasn’t a lot of growth overall with all property crimes being down. Generally, he said their calls for service will likely drop as the cold weather rolls in.
Councillor Robert Pulyk asked when they could expect some movement regarding the new RCMP facility following their land purchase near Highway 16, and Mayor Greg Throndson noted originally it had been slated for 2025.
“The federal government intends to build the first carbon neutral, zero emissions facility in Alberta in Vermilion. To be frank it will slow down the process; it is new territory, but the date they are aiming towards for occupancy is early 2028. At this point it is so early into the process; I would expect it would likely move sooner, but it’s a date,” said Dunsmore.
Library board chair Justin Thompson, treasurer Anna Giesbrecht and manager Stuart Pauls gave a budget delegation. Thompson shared a testimonial from the Betz family who said, ‘We support the library. We have saved more than $12,000 by using our local library - that’s the price of a small car.’
“That story is not a unique one. People are able to access resources without a membership. For borrowing or taking out materials it is required at $15 per year. We offer programming for all ages including early literacy, networking for professionals, and assisting seniors. There are new and exciting items such as computer programming tools, digital cameras, microphones; anything we can do to meet the needs of the people of Vermilion and surrounding areas. Our wonderful staff is well trained and knowledgeable about the community, and answer questions on any topic you could imagine,” said Thompson.
A renovation to the library entrance earlier this year allows scooter and wheelchair access, and they are looking into a lift to provide access to the basement in the future. Giesbrecht proposed the request for $294,500 from the town in order to continue their work at the library. They also extended an invitation to council and the public to attend their AGM on October 26, at 7 p.m.
CAO Kevin Lucas read a recommendation for council to extend the Atco Electric Ltd. – Municipal Electric Distribution System Franchise Agreement for another five years. Councillor Pulyk said, “The franchise agreement that we have is really good. Over the years many of you may or may have not noticed but ATCO has changed 662 light standards to incorporate LED lighting which has saved money and are far better lighting for wildlife and ourselves as well. We’ve had a good relationship with them for many years and I am certainly in favour.”
Lucas said as they switch over to LED it assists to lower the town’s carbon footprint, as well as with the dark skies initiative (reducing the orange glow). The motion was carried.
Director of Infrastructure and Planning, Ben McPhee, shared information on an articulting boom lift that had originally been brought forward in the 2021 budget for $70,000. With inflation they opted to select a used 2014 JLG 450AJ lift from United Rentals for $55,000 excluding GST.
Of three proposals, one was over budget, and one had 2,500 hours while this one only had 1,200 hours.
Councillor Joshua Rayment asked what the main use of the lift would be, and McPhee said that it would be used to hang banners around town, for the hanging baskets, at the arena, stadium or anywhere with high ceilings to provide regular maintenance. It opens up opportunities in-house as well as savings on operational budgets. Lucas added that they currently rent a local lift three times per year but this will allow them to do more such as the gutters that should be cleaned out annually, but they don’t get done as they aren’t always able to access the rental.
Pulyk added that after last year putting up Christmas lights he sees it alleviating a safety issue as well. Overall they agreed that it wasn’t so much about what they could save, but what they could add to their fleet, and as a result, the motion was carried.